Tuesday 19 October 2010

Take me back

It's funny how when I'm wondering what to arrange next something comes up and totally takes over any previous ideas. I had the radio on in the car one night last week and was channel surfing, and heard an Aussie rock song from the 80's I hadn't heard in years. Because I can't listen to music anymore without analysing it for fingerstyle worthiness, I detected this one as approachable and the more I listened, the more I remembered how much I loved the song back at the time.

Now for someone who wasn't an Aussie/Kiwi teenager in 1986 you will never have heard of the song "Take me back" by Noiseworks. Sorry, but persist with me, it might be worth it. It's probably Noiseworks most recognisable song, quite melodic with strong vocals from Jon Stevens. The song is incredibly heartfelt, basically a guy who doesn't recognise that his girl is seriously depressed and when she commits suicide he can't believe it, he didn't realise the seriousness of the signs, and wishes he could go back because he is lonely without her. Heart wrenching stuff, everyone take note, depression is more than ever the sickness of the times.

Anyway, as I was mumbling about in a comment on another post the song immediately fell into my default fingerstyle "style", and I had pretty much sketched it out in about two hours (involved a bit of internet examination of previous people's works on chords, tabs and bass tabs - don't reinvent the wheel!) The problem is that my style now feels contrived, predictable and just a bit boring to me.

Briefly, my default style is incorporating the basic rock drum beat into a pattern absorbing a bass line and morphing with the melody. Basic drum beat being 4/4, closed hat on all four beats, bass drum on beat one and snare drum on beat 3. So a continuous Boomp-t-tssh-t-Boomp-t-tssh-t. Translating that to fingerstyle you use the chord root note as a bassnote/bassdrum, flick strum a chord fragment for the snare drum, play the melody on top...the high hat kinda disappears/exists in the melody. Kinda make sense?

When you have a listen you'll see it's pretty obvious in the verse; not to mention the song is basically a three chord blues progression, E, A & B.

So because it was uninspiring I tried to jazz it up a bit, and threw in little bit of walking bass into the chorus, as per the actual song. That made it challenging for me to play, and gave it a less boring feel, maybe a little bit cheesy though.

Anyway, enough blah blah, have a listen to a cut down recording I made last night, you can hear that I struggle with it; it's still in forebrain so I have to "think" about I when I play it. When I've moved it to the backbrain and then can "think" on tempo/timing, clean fretting and better feeling/dynamics.

For those curious, here is what I did for the main chorus riff, quite challenging!



  1. sounds beautiful to me man. nice work as always! Naudo, watch out ;)

  2. Ha Bill, thanks! Naudo is in a different galaxy to me; he has a foundation of understanding music and all his good work stems from there. I'm just a mimic, and although I'm starting to feel better about my own arrangements, I still consider them quite simple compared to the complexities and genius of Naudo's stuff.

    But, as you can see, I still love to put them together, and one day I'll study up to get a proper foundation of music myself! :)

  3. greenlentils (my Youtube account) is still empty to this day!

    Your draft version sounds good, Jaw, as for the bass, I wouldn't call it walking bass (that conjures images of jazz swing double bass), but it definitely adds something, a complete arrangement feel, where the bass is not just merely following but adding some character to the tune.

    You may admit that the original song is a bit cheesy though.

    Another thing, since I don't have a blog anymore, you may be interested to check guitarist out:
    He is still a young lad, he has played many Naudo songs (while actually learning how to play the guitar), one of the first to do it (with you), and did a great job at this. Although not especially impressive at first, unassuming, and not too bothered about sound quatity and mistakes, there's something quite unique about the way he emulates the right hand rhythm of Naudo, that I haven't found anywhere else. Note that only his early videos are Naudo's songs, he credits Naudo in the description of the videos:

    Eye of the tiger:

    Stand by me:

  4. What moderation?!? You don't trust your old mate and faithfull reader? :-D
    I guess it's because of the links I inserted in my message, no worries, I'm just posting this basic message as I'm curious to see if that's what it is.

  5. Um, lost me there R, was there some issue with posting a comment? I haven't got into the guts of wordpress, I've left most things as default. However, I believe I'm about to elevate your status on this blog...hmmm, can't make you a contributor... did you delete your username when you viciously deleted your account? Okay, new invite sent out! :)


  6. Ha, found your comment (I need to pay more attention to how this wordpress works!) Not walking bass - okay, accepted. Cheesy - it way the 80's, it goes without saying :)

    Hey nice find on the young lad. Yep, he's been watching Naudo closely. And, I'm thinking, he was young enough to not already have habits, and yes, he's got Naudo's right hand certainly better than me. It's minimalist. If you were going to describe Naudo's right hand in one word I'd say "minimalist".

    Notice how he started off with a steel string and went to a thin body cutaway nylon. Notice the heavy use of the second finger in chord work - signature Naudo. And the rolls, flicks...he is younger Naudo! :)

    Subbed, someone to watch for sure.